In r/atheism, a community at reddit, one person has posted an argument arguing why Christianity is evil.
Here’s his first point:
Disclaimer : Absolutely no offence intended to anyone. I respect the right of everyone to have their own theological and philosophical opinions, including Christians, I just currently disagree with them a lot from a moral standpoint.
I think Christianity is an inherently evil religion. I think this for multiple reasons.
- Christianity is based on the horrific death of someone. Crucifixion is a terrible way to die. If Christianity was based on love and peace as Christians claim, then the crucifixion would not have happened, as it is not peaceful, but incredibly violent.
I understand this person hasn’t asked for our perspective on his arguments! At the same time, I’m interested in thinking through what a respectful engagement with his perspective might look like. I believe that in our community, we would agree with his disclaimer and equally respect his right to hold to these opinions.
First: how could you develop this claim into the strongest possible objection?
Second: how would you respond to the claim that the crucifixion proves that Christianity is inherently evil?
I love how this guy laid out his post. He is honest, rational, and has obviously given Christianity and its claims a lot of thought. He brings up some good points that require self-examination and a search of scripture.
He is correct on several fronts. “Crucifixion is a terrible way to die” and the nexus of our faith is the death of our Savior. To answer him, I would start with what we agree on to show respect and build rapport before addressing the points where we differ.
I would try to lay out an understanding of why the crucifixion was necessary to start with and what was the mindset of the One who was going to be crucified according to scripture.
“…the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us.” Ephesians 5.2
“No one takes my life from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.” John 10.18
God willingly and voluntarily went to the cross. He was not forced. This is not cosmic child abuse.
Only the sacrifice of God for God was acceptable to God. In this, the justice of God against sin and the love of God for the unjust to be reconciled to Himself was satisfied.
I will give some more thought to this. I am interested in hearing what others would say.
Interesting perspective, it does seems as though he has spent some time thinking about God and Christianity. For that I would commend him, he has done some investigation and it appears as though he has read the scriptures to a degree.
As I read his self-proclaimed rant it also seems as though he has drawn a very clear line in his mind what is evil and what is not. I am wondering where does this line, between what is good, and what is evil, come from. He does not specifically say that he is an atheist, but all people including those that don’t like Christianity or believe in a God, must give an answer to the problem of evil and how do we know the difference between good and evil. Once we recognize that there is a difference between good and evil we are implying that there is a moral law to define what is good and what is evil. And then if there is a moral law that is beyond our personal desires and wants, (if not beyond ourselves we are implying that we are god) we are assuming that there is a moral law giver.
After there is a recognition that there is a moral law giver, I would encourage him to investigate the solution that other religions, including atheism have for the solution to the problem of evil. It is my belief that the Christian view of evil originating with man’s rebellion against God, and then Jesus taking on flesh so that He could relate to us and our struggles but remaining sinless, and then paying the fine for our rebellion on the cross is unique and reveals the character of an infinity loving God that is beyond comparison to other gods. This God, Jesus has demonstrated that He is worth trusting and following. He has also demonstrated that He has the power to be God by laying down His life and taking it up again.
As I reflect on this claim, I am wondering; what moral law is he using to base his claim on? Is he the one who is trying to fill the shoes of God and define what is good and what is evil or is it defined somewhere else for all to know that this judgement is true?
Hi Don, as one follow-up, how would you state his argument against Christianity in its strongest form?
I hope I am understanding your question.
If I was to sum up his argument against Christianity; it would be that crucifixion is the ultimate form of evil to be inflicted on a person. If the God of Christianity is really true, then He must always show forth the love and peace that Christians claim is the character of the God of Christianity. Thus if the God of Christianity uses the most ultimate form of evil to accomplish His purposes then Christianity is not loving and peaceful and therefore cannot be true.
Hopefully I have dissected his thoughts appropriately.
But as I move beyond his thoughts to the complete character of our Lord; I am wondering, do you think it is because of his poor hearing that he has not understood the whole character of God? Or do you think it is because of Christianity’s poor explanation of the gospel that he has not understood the whole character of God?
Hi Don, wow, that’s an exciting way to develop the argument!
In that sense, instead of it being an argument from outside of Christianity, it is positing an incoherence within Christianity.
Here are the moral standards of Christianity (e.g., “love” “holiness”), and here at the center of the religion is a violation of those moral standards (“the evil of crucifixion”).
As to how he arrived at that conclusion, that’s another good question. I don’t know. But I think it is an interesting way of challenging the coherence of the Scriptures?